By Diana J. Ewing
In Grandparentland, the streets are paved with unconditional love and grandchildren always have the right of way. It’s as though Grandparentland is filled with kid-friendly road signs compelling us to do their bidding.
for Cold Stone ice cream when grandkids are present
directly to McDonald’s (Playland locations only)
to temptation and pick up a Bratz doll for granddaughter
Toys R Us without buying a Transformer for grandson
down and spend more time with grandchildren
Along the highways and byways of Grandparentland, you discover a very different landscape right in your own backyard. Where you once had eyes only for the best restaurants, newest sports bar, most well-stocked home improvement stores, kitschy secondhand shops, and hippest art galleries, you now scope out puppet shows, toy stores, and ceramics classes for children. Parks and playgrounds are your new stomping grounds, where nothing is more entertaining than pushing Connor on the swing. It’s a natural high.
Candy Land and Skylanders are your new favorite games. Saturday afternoons are spent cheering from a lawn chair as Emily dribbles the soccer ball down the field. Or you look on with amazement as kids run the bases in the wrong direction during T-ball. (Yes, sometimes there is crying in baseball.) One day you’re attending a post-game pizza party, a school concert, or ballet recital, the next you’re sitting front row and center (plenty of tissues in hand) at a grandkid’s preschool, middle-school, high school, or (yikes!) college graduation.
Taking up residence in Grandparentland is like setting sail on your own special edition of The Love Boat. Except now you’re Captain Stubing and your grandkids are Julie, Gopher, and Isaac, and they’re constantly getting into mischief and need your gentle guidance to stay on a smooth course.
Since these youngsters are a generation once removed, you can maintain the easy-going attitude with them that you wouldn’t have dreamed of showing toward their parents when they were growing up. Even so, grandkids alternately delight and exasperate you because it’s their job to ensure that nothing goes as planned when they’re part of the equation. So try not to laugh even if they misbehave in the cutest ways, because grandkids are quick to learn what Nana and Pops will and won’t let them get away with.
In reality, today’s grandparents are the most laid-back in history. In other words, you’re a whole lotta fun. That makes your grandchildren want to spend more time in Grandparentland. And it makes the time you spend together all the more grand!
Diana J. Ewing, of Laguna Niguel, California, spent 30 years in advertising and public relations before venturing into humor writing with her first book, The Baby Boomers’Guide to Grandparenting.